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Thread: London Burns

  1. #91

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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    This isn't a simple lapse of judgment though; it's a psychosocial phenomenon that occurs whenever large angry groups no longer fear violent reprisal for their actions.
    A label such as psychosocial phenomenon is not sufficient enough to preempt a value judgment or negate individual consequences. Unless these individuals plan to inhabit a mob rule state indefinitely, eventually they will have to reckon with the results of their participation.

    In general I am also more interested in going after the root of the problem rather than strictly reactionary discipline, but I'm also not sold on the merits of blanket absolution via semantics.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  2. #92
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salome View Post
    Are we? Why? Because we say so? What authority gave us those rights? Didn’t we just claim them for ourselves? Much like the average looter...
    Because we are by virtue of being.

    Not bad, but not benign either. It certainly seems to be problematic in terms of maintaining social order.
    Social order, beyond the community level, is nothing more than a certain privileged class ensuring that they receive the benefits of their own claimed entitlements, in exchange for the relative safety of everyone else. Without entitlement, there can be no social order, for social order is created and enforced by the agreement and declaration that only a specific group of people can use violence against those within society without risking violence in response. The riots are in defiance of this entitlement. The looting is in defiance of this as well - the entitlement "owners" have to the use of violence against people who take possession of certain goods without the permission of the "owner."

    Our dialogue regarding social equality revolves around asserting that we are all entitled to everything, when it might be more reasonable (and sustainable) to maintain that none of us are actually entitled to anything. Happiness is largely about counting your blessings, not measuring your deficits.
    I don't see it that way. I see it more that our dialogue regarding social equality revolves around the power the "haves" (or hegemons) wield in preventing the "have-nots" (or subalterns) from a fuller measure of agency in their own lives. Thus, the appeal of looting at the riots is only in part about "I'm going to get myself some nice things." There's also an important element of "I'm going to get myself some nice things, and there's nothing the 'authorities' can do to stop me." It's about agency.

    Entitlement is an outgrowth of the competitive instinct to survive. As such it relies on a hierarchy of winners and losers. It a lie we've told ourselves for so long (to justify the subjugation / exploitation of our own and other species) that we've actually started to believe it. But for the lie to really work, some sections of society need to sustain lower expectations of what they are entitled to than others. Without that, social order collapses.
    Entitlement isn't a growth of any instinctive principle. Instead, it arose as a cognitive construct (along with things like "ownership," "possession," "debt," "freedom," "slavery," etc) in response to the extremely disruptive and cataclysmic invention of agriculture. It's one of those ideas Adam and Eve gained when they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (figuratively, of course), as was the idea of enforceability - paying others to do violence on your own behalf.

    Most of us are inclined toward sharing resources and creating a common baseline standard of living amongst the members of the community. Empathy is instinctual in most human beings, after all. However, we also have a strong aversion against deception and exploitation, and unfortunately, there is and will always be, it seems, that 1-4% of the population whose survival and reproduction strategy centers upon deception and exploitation of the efforts of others. The existence of the snake introduces the element of mistrust into the society, and our response to that mistrust leads to the unhealthier types of entitlement, as we create psychological defenses against having to criticize ourselves for being less than empathetic toward others.

    The problem is that too many people live in societies where they are constantly told “You’re worth it!”, whilst simultaneously being denied that notional “worth”. Hence, anger, depression, general social malaise, riots and other fun stuff.
    Except that the UK isn't exactly one of those societies - the message is "he and she are worth it... what exactly are you still doing here, anyway?"

  3. #93
    Senior Member Critical Hit's Avatar
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    More riots in 6-9 months.

    I am calling it right here. Be ready for me to dig this thread up when that happens.
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    @SilkRoad come back! I understand your frustration at people intellectualizing something you find a real, lived experience. It's easy for the peanut gallery to throw words around like oppression and take a moral high ground angelicizing looters when you're watching your friends businesses burn or make something a posterchild for a sociological discussion you're not interested in having. The human element is always nice to add back into a discussion to ground it, so you should come back.

    Ok, I'm gonna have to call BS on this thread. I agree with the larger social context of the rioting, I agree it is symptomatic of a society that breeds and lives on oppression of groups of people, etc.

    However, is that the best you've got?

    If we're stuck around 'this is bad because people lack personal responsbility' and 'i support these people because it's symptomatic of a bad system that I object to' we're never gonna go anywhere. The only true universal effect of any mob is that it temporarily jolts people, makes people watching argue, and MAYBE disconcerts the 'ruling powers' temporarily. They are not effective agents of change.

    Also, has anyone pointed out that it's almost unheard of to have a huge violent mob of women tearing shit up for fun?

    Quote Originally Posted by LEGERdeMAIN View Post
    Only if we riot, revolt and murder the ruling class.
    Everyone is someone else's "ruling class" so we're all fucked. Also, once people start rioting it just becomes a violence and rape fest so some of us are more fucked than others.
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  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    Because we are by virtue of being.
    Circularity.

    It's about agency.
    It’s about feeling entitled to agency.

    Entitlement isn't a growth of any instinctive principle. Instead, it arose as a cognitive construct...
    That’s one way of looking at it. Not a particularly illuminating one. You're suggesting that the concept of entitlement is completely alien to hunter-gather societies. Which is bullshit. Entitlement is allied to territoriality, which is not an exclusively modern (or exclusively human) phenomenon.

    Except that the UK isn't exactly one of those societies - the message is "he and she are worth it... what exactly are you still doing here, anyway?"
    I live in the UK, I think I understand it at least as well as you do. You seem to have completely missed my point. I suspect that’s deliberate so I won’t engage in one of those long drawn-out point for point exchanges that you favour.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CzeCze View Post
    Ok, I'm gonna have to call BS on this thread. I agree with the larger social context of the rioting, I agree it is symptomatic of a society that breeds and lives on oppression of groups of people, etc.

    However, is that the best you've got?

    If we're stuck around 'this is bad because people lack personal responsbility' and 'i support these people because it's symptomatic of a bad system that I object to' we're never gonna go anywhere. The only true universal effect of any mob is that it temporarily jolts people, makes people watching argue, and MAYBE disconcerts the 'ruling powers' temporarily. They are not effective agents of change.

    Also, has anyone pointed out that it's almost unheard of to have a huge violent mob of women tearing shit up for fun?

    Everyone is someone else's "ruling class" so we're all fucked. Also, once people start rioting it just becomes a violence and rape fest so some of us are more fucked than others.
    Is it any more constructive to throw blame around / adopt a victim mentality?

    How does one change anything without first understanding it? How does one understand anything without intellectualising it?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salome View Post
    Is it any more constructive to throw blame around / adopt a victim mentality?

    How does one change anything without first understanding it? How does one understand anything without intellectualising it?
    Intellectualizing with an agenda is problematic. It depends on what the goal of the intellectualizing is. For myself, I have just heard way too much self-serving rhetoric around "acts of social unrest" (over the years, not speaking solely of this thread) that I have a knee jerk reaction. My point is that there is always a better way and that people can never absolve themselves of personal responsibility. Especially if you are coming from a social justice framework, I don't understand how giving people free passes for bad behavior - whether individual and localized or group and generalized does anything but reduce people to base, amoral psychosocial automatons. Or say we are only a product of our environment and our times. First, I disagree with that. Second, I think often people who try to "be the other voice" and give a MORAL validation to acts of violence and particularly riots actually contradict their own aims at elevating a platform for social and economic reforms/justice/equality, etc. I think that far swing to the left is more a knee jerk reaction to people seeming to demonize rioters on a purely individual and conventionally moral basis.

    There has to be more than a "yes this is good" and "no this is bad" conversation.

    Also, I don't think anyone was showing a victimized mentality? The business owners in question in the riots HAVE literally been victimized.
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

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  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by CzeCze View Post
    But people riot when they are "happy" too.
    People riot when they have the opportunity to act violently without as much fear of retribution by authorities. A certain sort of disaffected and frustrated person is going to riot if given the opportunity, and it doesn't matter what the trigger for the behavior is.

    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    A label such as psychosocial phenomenon is not sufficient enough to preempt a value judgment or negate individual consequences. Unless these individuals plan to inhabit a mob rule state indefinitely, eventually they will have to reckon with the results of their participation.
    Never said anything about negating consequences of the actions.

    Yes to the reckoning, and that's for them to do. Your own moral judgment will have little to no practical effect on their own perception of their participation in the riots. So, why waste all that energy being upset over something you have essentially no control over?

    In general I am also more interested in going after the root of the problem rather than strictly reactionary discipline, but I'm also not sold on the merits of blanket absolution via semantics.
    Never said that they should be absolved, merely that it is not our place to absolve or condemn them. The tricky part is that the root of the problem lay within the very people who are most frantically attempting to persuade us to demonize the rioters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Salome View Post
    Circularity.
    Such is the nature of things.

    It’s about feeling entitled to agency.
    Maybe it is. In that circumstance, it is my moral judgment that such a feeling of entitlement is justified in all people.

    That’s one way of looking at it. Not a particularly illuminating one. You're suggesting that the concept of entitlement is completely alien to hunter-gather societies. Which is bullshit. Entitlement is allied to territoriality, which is not an exclusively modern (or exclusively human) phenomenon.
    Yes, but territoriality was tied to spiritual and religious practices in the hunter-gatherer days. No person owned the land - the tribal god or goddess owned the land, and the people fought for the sake of that deity. No one felt entitled to the land, but instead, felt devotion to their tribe and their god. Which is very different from entitlement.

    That's why I brought up the Garden of Eden - with the establishment of agriculture and land ownership, humans had become like gods, and began to act in ways that only gods once did: command people to fight in a person's name, claim exclusive title to a given territory, have people offer food to you in thanks for permitting them to live, etc.

    I live in the UK, I think I understand it at least as well as you do. You seem to have completely missed my point. I suspect that’s deliberate so I won’t engage in one of those long drawn-out point for point exchanges that you favour.
    Nah, I just thought your point was entirely too materialistic. Which seems to be the trend, anyway, so it's probably for the best that we end things here.

  9. #99

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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    Yes to the reckoning, and that's for them to do. Your own moral judgment will have little to no practical effect on their own perception of their participation in the riots. So, why waste all that energy being upset over something you have essentially no control over?
    Like objective analysis, value judgments are not made exclusively for the immediate, external impact. They are a natural, necessary energy expenditure to those that value them and the outcome is not the only way to assess their relevance or value in the scheme of things. Do you only ask questions because you are certain to get the answer? Probably not.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  10. #100
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    Shock over 'respectable' lives behind masks of UK rioters

    Accused include a student from a wealthy background and people in their 30s and 40s
    And there yah go, these rioters apparently lived "respectable" lives.

    Now, what cause them to riot?

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